RBI staff strike disrupts bonds trading

More than 21,000 employees at RBI began a one-day strike to protest against pension plans.

Written by Reuters | Mumbai | Published: February 20, 2009 11:01 am

More than 21,000 employees at RBI began a one-day strike on Friday to protest against pension plans,a union leader said,disrupting trading in government bonds and hitting volume in other markets.

“The strike is 100 percent successful,” said Samir Ghosh,general secretary of the All India Reserve Bank of India Employees Association.

“As per our report,everyone has taken leave,expect for executive directors,the governor and deputy governors,” he told Reuters over the telephone from the eastern Indian city of Kolkata.

The Reserve Bank of India declined comment.

Traders said there were no deals in bonds as the electronic trading platform run by the RBI was shut.

The partially convertible rupee was at 49.91/92 per dollar by 11:05 a.m.,weaker than Thursday’s close of 49.62/63,but volume was thin because of the strike,traders said.

The 30-share BSE index fell more than 2 percent,joining a slide across world markets after data suggested the 13-month-old U.S. recession was deepening.

“No central banking operations will be active today,” said Ghosh. “There will be no real time gross settlement,affecting the payment and settlement operations.”

Banks in India are closed on Monday for a religious holiday and settlement of deals and cheques will be done only on Tuesday.

The RBI had said on Wednesday the strike may disrupt some of its normal work,including the payment and settlement system.

The strike was called after the government had refused to align the central bank’s pensions in line with that of the federal and state governments.

The RBI has four unions,which together represent all its 21,500 employees.

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